Located in the Red Sea, Dahlak Islands, the Eritrean archipelago and one of the major tourist places in Eritrea, consists of more than 200 islands. The main inhabitants of these islands are the people of the Afar and Tigre tribes, who mainly engage themselves in fishing and herding for a living.
An archipelago is a large group of islands.
The biggest and most populous island in the Dahlak Archipelago is the Dahlak Kebir, previously called as Dahlak Deset.
Back when Eritrea was an Italian colony, the Dahlak Islands housed the Nocra prison camp.
It is an interesting fact that the Dahlak Islands became a part of Eritrea only after Eritrea achieved independence.
How to reach the Dahlak Islands?
From the capital city, Asmara you can take a train to Ghinda to get to the islands. The train ride is a pleasant and beautiful journey through the beautiful country of Eritrea.
An alternative is to reach Massawa which is the main port city of Eritrea. Massawa is separated from the Dahlak islands by a sea stretch of about 70km. You can always get chartered boat rides to the Dahlak islands from Massawa. However, renting these boats can be quite an expensive affair.
Note: You need a special permit to enter into the Dahlak islands. Please make sure to get it approved from the Ministry of Tourism in Eritrea prior to your trip to the islands.
Where to stay?
If you’re planning on just a day trip to the Dahlak islands then you can simply take accommodation at a hotel in Massawa. Massawa offers a range of flexible accommodation options for you to choose from.
You could charter a yacht for an overnight stay in the Dahlak islands. Even though it is slightly overpriced, the trip will definitely be worth it.
There is a luxurious resort, Dahlak Island Resort at the Taulud Island where you could stay for the night. The resort is beach facing and visitors can enjoy a blissful day at the beach basking under the golden sun. The resort also has a private pool.
What to do while at the Dahlak Islands?
The Dahlak Islands are one of the major Eritrean attractions and you shouldn’t leave Eritrea before exploring these wonderful islands. These desert islands flaunt the rich marine wildlife that is found in the Red Sea. Tourists come from all around the globe to visit these islands that remain unknown to the majority.
These islands offer a variety of water sports to visitors. Scuba-diving and snorkeling are one of the best water sports here. It is a magical experience to go under water and observe the beautiful world that exists below the waters. The beautiful coral reefs found on the sea bed are a delight to snorkelers and divers alike.
While you’re here you could also charter a yacht and go for a cruise. Enjoy the brilliant sunset in the evening, looking out to horizon from your yacht.
You can visit both the inhabited and the uninhabited islands provided you have a chartered boat and a guide who knows his way through the islands.
Visit the village of Dahlak Kebir, the largest settlement here, to have a truly wonderful cultural experience. You will find houses mainly built from driftwood. You can even spend time fishing with the local people. They use the sambukhas to fish. A sambukha is wooden crafted net used for fishing. Your catch will depend upon the season.
Also, visit he historic mosque of Dahlak Kebir. The island is also famous for its fossil collection. Another tourist place is the pre-Islamic ruins of Adel.
One of the major attractions of the Dahlak Islands is the sea at night. Go for a swim at night and experience the magic of nature. Tiny living creatures under the water illuminate the sea with their greenish sparkling light, known as bio-luminescence. It is an enthralling sight at night. It is definitely one of the must-do things on this island.
Also, if you have the time, explore the serene beaches of the Dissei Island located near the Gulf of Zula, and the island of Madot where you’ll find so many different bird species in large numbers. Many of them lay their eggs on the beach.
The Dahlak Islands are a complete package on their own!
Author: E Jey
Just a passionate traveler who loves scribbling his expeditions @ www.jauntmonkey.com, www.outonroads.com, and www.blogthatall.com